Well kid, it looks real.
It was about 1943, during WW II, a group of boys in the small town where I lived thought it necessary to form a small “army” to support the home front. I was deeply involved. It soon dawned on us we needed to get equipment for our new “army”. We managed to find enough that we began to train in the weed-filled vacant lot across the street from my house. We dug several forts for protection. The training went well enough, but, I began to feel the need for a proper rifle. I knew the U.S.Army used the new “Garand” rifle and that is the one I decided to get. I must have realized how difficult it would be to get one (due to war effort priorities) , because I decided to make my own.
I went to the very small branch of the county library and asked the Librarian to help me find information I needed to go ahead. She soon found what I asked for; the picture of the rifle was great. Picture at the ready, I started looking for a suitable piece of wood that would become my rifle. The piece I sought must have straight grain and be free of knots as the only tools available were an old saw, a file, and one of my Mothers kitchen knives. I do not remember where I found the wood but I found the right piece and started in. Between sawing and splitting of the wood I was able to form my rifle so it looked like the picture – as I remember it. There was one glaring exception! The barrel was slightly crooked to one side and my rifle might not pass close inspection. I decided to ignore this imperfection and sand and finish the rifle. It actually looked like a real rifle from a distance. I was pleased with my rifle and it became part of my army equipment.
My rifle served me well when I was across the street at the “front”. I felt well equipped and armed to defend our small town should the need arise. One day, while I was at the “front”, a Sheriff ‘s Dept. patrol car pulled up to the curb next to the “front” and one of the two Deputies beckoned me to the car. As I approached, he looked at my rifle and asked where I got it. I replied I had made it. When I got closer to the car he saw the rifle was not real. As I remember it, he laughed and said: “Well kid, it looks real” They drove off .
It took me awhile before I realized just how big the compliment was that the Deputy had given me! Thank you Deputy.